Florida Man Out with His Dog Narrowly Escapes Alligator Attack by Gouging Its Eye

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The 8-foot, 250-pound gator emerged and clamped down on Johnson’s right leg and started to drag him under the canal. Johnson said there was no one around to help him. 

A 61-year-old Florida man was walking his dog when he was suddenly ambushed by an 8-foot, 250-pound alligator that appeared to be looking for its next meal. The man says he narrowly escaped by gouging the gator’s eye.

Mark Johnson was on a peaceful Sunday morning stroll last week with his 8-year-old golden retriever, Rex. As they walked along a canal near his Port St. Lucie home an alligator emerged and clamped down on Johnson’s right leg and started to drag him under the canal, Newsweek reported. 

With no one around to help and no stones or sticks Johnson could grab, his survival instincts kicked in by jabbing his index finger into the eyes of the massive reptile that freed him from the gator’s powerful jaws. The gator then released its grip and sank back into the canal. 

An injured Johnson limped home with blood dripping down his leg from the puncture wounds. His wife drove him to the hospital where he received 60 stitches to his thigh and finger, The Guardian reported

“He knew he had his prey,” Johnson told the local media outlet WPTV. “He wanted to roll so he could start dismembering. He started clamping down really good above my knee, and my shoe was sticking out the base of his jaw.”

Rex luckily came out of the ordeal uninjured thanks to its owner, who followed Johnson’s command to “go home” once the attack began.

Shortly after the attack, rangers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife commission trapped and removed the alligator. The alligator was later humanely euthanized, Newsweek reported.

“When Florida Fish and Wildlife officials told me how big it was, I’ll admit, I teared up a little bit,” Johnson told the news magazine.

Shaken from the ordeal, he described the gator as “aggressive,” and told TCPalm.com that if he had been a small child or a pet, he wouldn’t have had a chance. 

“It’s important for people to understand how dangerous alligators are,” he said.

A resident of Florida native most of his life said he will never forget this ordeal for the rest of his life.

“When your whole leg is in the jaws of a gator, you’re not thinking size you’re thinking survival,” Newsweek reported. “I knew he was bigger than me. The realization hit me today at how lucky I was.”

He added: "You're talking seconds before a gator that size begins his death roll, tearing flesh, you know. That eight to 10 seconds will be burned in my mind the rest of my life.

State records show that since 1948, there have been 283 major alligator attacks on humans and 25 of those attacks were fatal.

Newsweek reported that there have been two additional alligator attacks in the past month—a 41-year-old who was bitten while alligator hunting August 20 and a 27-year-old woman who was attacked in her yard, according to the FWC. 

In the meantime, Johnson who is a professional artist and has been painting Florida’s marine life for decades plans on capturing the unforgettable encounter.

“I already ordered the canvas to paint it on. I can see it right now, Johnson told The Patch. "I see my foot. I see the gator. I see the position — his eyes. He had green eyes. The teeth were pearly white, no stain or anything."